Founded in 2014, Maine Cannabis Exchange initially focused on making high-dose tinctures for sensitive uses they felt were prominent in their community, such as helping kids with neurological disorders.
Their retail business evolved with Maine’s cannabis industry in the medicinal and adult use markets. Maine Cannabis Exchange is a vertically integrated operation, offering its flower brand plus other cannabis products such as rosin-based candles – and even chocolate bars!
They proudly represent many high-quality cultivators and manufacturers in their local market.
Maine Cannabis Exchange is part of our Dawnstar beta program and continues to use the platform as it develops.
When Maine Cannabis Exchange was starting, its owner, Peter Ingram, did everything with the help of some of the key staff and partners. “Inventory was a new animal for me. I've never run a retail business before. Managing inventory was something I had little experience with”.
They brought on staff with relevant experience running stores – but inventory management still managed to be a problem. Maine Cannabis Exchange didn't know which products were in demand with their clientele, which confused the buying process.
“There were a lot of shades of grey around what we needed to order, when we needed to order, and how much we needed to buy. A lot of it was just gut instinct,"
But gut instinct was no longer working. And their POS reports? Those weren't helping, either. They weren't digestible and most importantly, not prescriptive.
They didn't fit the pace of the store's operations. What happened as a result? The same as you'd expect in any other retail business. Over-ordering, low stock, and a lot of cash held hostage.
“We certainly have had our fair share where we've over-purchased based on presumed consumer demand or under-purchased and didn’t notice when things sold out until customers came in and asked for them again. That was a position that we never wanted to be in. We don't want to give a customer a bad experience,” said Peter.
Inventory practices directly affected both Maine Cannabis Exchange’s operations and customer experience. That’s when they started seeing the problem.
“We thought the customer had more demand than they did. We've run into situations where we've had to sell things at a huge discount, sometimes at a loss. We always want to avoid that when we can.”
“Dawnstar really takes the guesswork out of inventory purchasing. Our staff don't have to take a guess or rely on gut. They can go in and feel confident that they're making an accurate decision.”
Once the inventory problem became more noticeable at Maine Cannabis Exchange, Peter realized they needed to do a few things better:
- Understand how fast products and brands sell
- Understand consumer demand per product
- Know which products are out-of-stock or close
- Know which products to re-stock
- Know which brands could be used for deals
That’s where Dawnstar comes in to help.
“One of the biggest challenges that we faced was trying to figure out the inventory sales velocity. How fast were products selling, and whether that was changing over time through the seasons or even different times during the week, so we could anticipate when we would need to resupply.”
With Dawnstar, Maine Cannabis Exchange could plug any SKU into the software to understand exactly how fast it's been selling. They also could use the Low-Stock products feature to know the recommended re-stock unit to keep within 14 days.
Best of all, re-stock recommendations in Dawnstar are prescriptive. They tell staff whether to re-stock and save hours of decision-making needs.
“That is really helpful for our employees because otherwise, they're just making a good decision on how many items they should be purchasing, versus actually having an analytical suggestion that says, ‘Hey, for the next 14 days, you should probably have this many items on supply based on the prior sales history”
Maine Cannabis Exchange also uses a Dawnstar feature called the Brand Leaderboard— which shows the velocity and stock of all brands currently stocked in the dispensary— to determine which deals to run.
They can quickly evaluate high supply and low velocity products for a potential discount.
Don’t take it from us. Here’s what Peter at Maine Cannabis Exchange has to say:
“Dawnstar really takes the guesswork out of inventory purchasing. Our staff don't have to take a guess or rely on gut to make an inventory purchasing decision. They can go in and feel confident that they're making an accurate decision.”
“Dawnstar has become part of our company policy and reordering because we want to make sure that our employees have a standard.”
Since joining the Dawnstar beta program, Maine Cannabis Exchange has implemented the tool into their buying standard operating procedures, so that staff can confidently make buying decisions using Dawnstar’s data sets and machine-learning suggestions.
Dawnstar also saved Peter a few hours a week updating inventory analysis spreadsheets and sending them out to staff.
“I would put out a bunch of Excel documents based on reports from our POS. They're fairly cumbersome and require a lot of manual tweaking. But now they can go right there themselves without having to rely on me to provide those reports and that data to them. That saves me a ton of time, which I'm grateful for.”
Boosted confidence in buying products and hours saved from spreadsheets – that’s how Dawnstar has helped Maine Cannabis Exchange.
Dawnstar helps retailers like Maine Cannabis Exchange make informed product purchases and stock inventory that's in-demand with customers.Book a demo